Name: Jenny Cipoletti
Job Title: Editor of Margo and Me
Job She Quit: PR Account Executive
“It’s a really interesting time we are living in now. There is this trend towards people following something that ignites that spark and passion inside them. People are following their dreams now more than ever. It’s pretty cool to see”
Stay in School: I started out getting a more well-rounded education, which I felt would allow me to explore a little more after school. I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles. I studied marketing and merchandising because I really wanted to start my very own boutique.
Almost Everything: After I graduated, I started working at a boutique PR firm (my first job after school), and from there, I went on to work at Rogers and Cowan in their film fashion division. I made it all the way up to account executive and I was working with top tier stylists, celebrities, and designers from Europe. All of my dreams were coming true - it was straight out of Devil Wears Prada. It was so much fun, but I felt like there was something lacking.
The Shift: I started reaching out to stylists to work with them on weekends. I worked PR during the week and started styling on the weekends with whoever needed an assistant at the time. From there, I started to realize I really enjoyed the styling more. I woke up at 25 and I had a grocery list of all of these amazing things: my health, my boyfriend, and my puppy, but I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was alive but I wasn’t living. I was just going through the motions.
That Quit Moment: I said to myself, if I wake up at 30 years old and I’m still doing this, it’s not going to be pretty, so I left my PR job and went back to school. I did the nine month program at FIDM for fashion design and it was incredible. For years and years, I hadn’t learned anything tangible applicable or creative — that changed overnight. I’d totally forgotten what it felt like to be a student again, totally immersed in a creative culture and constantly inspired by my teachers, my peers, and my work. I was thrown into a design program where you learned how to sketch, sew, drape, and create patterns. It was like this bubble just burst inside of me. I suddenly realized that this was what I’d been missing all along.
Start, Just Start: In addition to going back to school, I launched Margo and Me as a way to showcase what I was designing (Margo is my french bulldog). It started out as just a showcase for the dresses I was designing, but then I started posting outfits and styling tips as well. My husband is a director and was the one who originally inspired the idea because he was testing his new camera lens so I asked him to take a picture of me wearing one of my outfits. There were a few trendsetters out there, but this was before the huge blogging boom. There weren’t really many people doing it at the time. It was a whole new world.
Starting Off: When I first started, blogging was definitely a part-time hobby. I wasn’t even posting once a week - maybe even once a month when I had a little bit of downtime. It went on that way for about 9 months until Coachella 2013. An outfit that I wore was photographed at a Harper’s Bazaar event, it ran and it ran and all of a sudden my Instagram went “boom”.
Growing The Following: With that, we had started to get some traction with Margo and Me. It was in a good place visually, so we gave ourselves until the end of 2014 to make it work. Really looking at it from a business perspective, we asked ourselves how much growth we expected each and every month, what we wanted our editorial calendar to look like, what publications we wanted to be pitching content to, and what stories were worthy of writing or contribution to drive traffic to the blog. We gave ourselves 8 months to get it off the ground and each month, we couldn’t believe the amount of work we were generating.
The (Seemingly) Perfect Combo: In addition to my eye for photography and graphics, I’m also really passionate about writing. I feel any opportunity I get to write, I really thrive. With my background working in PR, I was able to write all of the press releases and help mold all the content for the brands I was working with. Often times, many of the brands didn’t have much behind them, so they would come in and I would help inspire growth by putting together marketing plans and strategies.
On Personal Growth: I’ve always been the type of person that was more of a friend than a coworker, and I’m definitely the type of person that gives people the benefit of the doubt. Wjen I set out to grow my own business, I learned that people aren’t as trustworthy and as reliable as you’d hope. I've had to grow a lot as a leader and really challenge myself to think strategically about my business model.
Quit, But Have a Plan: I don’t think my friends and family understood what we were doing at first. I think that only now, the concept of what we were doing at the time is a bit more socially acceptable. When you are a quitter, you don’t just quit. You have to have a plan. It’s not a day where you wake up and you’re like “okay bye”. You start focusing on what it is you’re going to do and how you’re going to get there.
A New Field: When we went full-time with Margo and Me, we looked at it from a growth/business perspective. We set a goal for each month, and if we didn’t make it, we decided we needed to reassess what we were doing. I think it’s super important to be realistic about future goals. A lot of us are super creative, and it may seem like a lot of fun, but it’s a lot more work than you’d think. You are your own boss. There’s no booklet on blogging, no manual on how to do it. Motivation can sometimes be challenging to stir up.
Love the Process: I get such immense joy about storyboarding a photoshoot. I love getting together with my production coordinator and working out the details that make up our photo shoots. I’m constantly thinking of new ways to create something that’s both beautiful and inspiring. I’m all about the immense amount of beauty around us, and that’s what I choose to focus on in my life. That’s where my drive comes from. I find that I don’t always have enough time to get my ideas out, it’s immediate gratification. I want everything done now and I’m constantly thinking of new things I need to be doing. Needing more time is the challenge for me, not executing.
Telling A Story: The keyword I use with everything I do is “informative”. I just want to inform my readers. People are tuning in for a reason, so I constantly want to try and make my content informative for my readers and always tell a story. What I’ve unintentionally done is I’ve created a lifestyle brand, so it’s more of an all encompassing platform. I take my readers in and share everything from my latest purchase for my nightstand to what’s on my vanity - which creates a more well-rounded story, instead of doing one-off posts.
On Regret: I’ve never been a big one for looking back or regretting thing because everyone is on their own path. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything is a learning experience and a new experience for growth. I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Creative Fear: I doubt myself all the time. Doubt is huge, but fear and creativity go hand in hand. if you’re going to be a true creative, you have to be really used to fear being a part of your life. I’ve not let fear or doubt control my life or my work, I’ve instead allowed it to motivate me. i don’t think it’s fearlessness but it’s definitely all about harnessing your fear and being like "ok, this is what’s going to happen, we might fail, but we’re going to get there.".
"There’s a lot of talk out there and not a lot of people doing things about it and so to really take that leap of faith is the ultimate way to prove to yourself that you are what you thought you can be."
Follow Jenny on Instagram, and be sure to check out her blog: margoandme.com